Pictured is Mrs. Schutza’s fifth grade class with their solar energy research project.

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Horseshoe Trails Elementary goes solar

Elizabeth Medora~ 10/15/2014

PHOENIX – Horseshoe Trails Elementary’s future has never looked brighter.

The school is celebrating the installation of new solar panels that will help the school achieve their goals as a ‘Green Ribbon School;’ the Green Ribbon award highlights the school’s dedication to sustainability and health. The new solar panels were installed as part of covered parking spaces in the school parking lot.

Horseshoe Trails students and staff, as well as APS representatives, public officials, and community members, gathered at the school on Oct. 10 for a Celebration of Sustainability in honor of the new solar panels.

At the event, APS Renewable Energy Programs Leader Rex Stepp described the Cave Creek Unified School District as a “great partner” in planning Arizona’s energy future and said that APS is “working with all of our partners to make sure Arizona has a sustainable future.”

Each class of the elementary school had researched an energy fact to recite at the ceremony. From the sixth graders to the preschoolers, students shared what they had learned about solar power and renewable energy.

Sixth graders Tanner Dimond and Bennett Allen gave a joint speech regarding the importance of solar energy, calling it a “great community offering,” “an effective use of space and generation of savings,” and “safe and simple.”

Steve Frost, a representative of the solar power firm Ameresco, addressed the Horseshoe Trails student body.

“You are the future of Arizona, of the United States,” he told the students. He encouraged the students to continue the research and learning they had been doing about renewable energy and offered an incentive to the classes. Each class can submit a one-page research paper on why solar energy is important and how it works. The papers will be graded by grade level, and two classes will win a pizza and ice cream party. This announcement brought cheers from the student audience.

The new solar panels will help power school classrooms, as well as earn the school quarterly incentives from APS based on the solar energy production of the panels. The solar energy program joins Horseshoe Trails’ other green initiatives, including trash reduction and increased recycling and hands-on education about organic gardening, composting, plants, nutrition, and food systems. To see more about these programs, visit www.ccusd93.org/HorseshoeTrailsES.